New research paper about cooperation in groups of Saami reindeer herders

The Tangled Woof of Fact

People rely on one another in fundamental ways, but cooperation in groups can be fragile. Every day, we face tensions between acting in a socially responsible manner and following our own self-interest. These situations are called social dilemmas and they come in varying shades of subtlety, from littering and eBay to overpopulation and climate change. Overcoming these dilemmas can make all the difference, especially for marginalised groups such as pastoralists – people who make their living from herding animals.

Pastoralists use about a quarter of the world’s land for grazing their herds. Nowadays, all over the world, governments are privatising many of their pastures, and so herders must work together in increasingly fragmented places.

We wanted to learn how groups of Saami reindeer herders living in Norway’s Arctic Circle worked together. Our study, just published in the journal Human Ecology, found that cooperation pivoted around the ‘siida’: a…

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Tibetan lives: Hunting

I’ve just got a paper accepted in Land Use Policy about nomadic pastoralists in Tibet and hunting. As we all know, space is limited in scientific journals, so here is additional text as well as pictures. Continue reading “Tibetan lives: Hunting”

Predatory or prey – the rise of nomadic empires

In 1227 Genghis Khan died leaving behind a legacy of conquest and the largest land empire in history, only fully realized by his Grandson Kubhlai Khan with the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty in 1267 (Chaliand 2004). Continue reading “Predatory or prey – the rise of nomadic empires”

Workshop in Tromsø February 18

In connection with the project “The Erosion of Cooperative Networks and the Evolution of Social Hierarchies: A Comparative Approach” and NIKU‘s 20th anniversary,  a workshop will be arranged on Wednesday 18th of February in Tromsø, Norway.

Time: Wednesday February 18 12:30-16:00 Continue reading “Workshop in Tromsø February 18”

HIERARCHIES: New research project from the Research Council of Norway

Last week I got the news that I got a 4 year research grant funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Continue reading “HIERARCHIES: New research project from the Research Council of Norway”

What’s killing the reindeer?

Predatory species compete with humans for the use of resources such as livestock and an important tool for managing possible conflicts is damage compensation schemes distributing the costs between those who benefit from conservation and those who suffer the costs of damage.

Continue reading “What’s killing the reindeer?”

Are Nomadic Pastoralists Non-Rational?

Herskovits[1] showed that cattle were a dominant element among East African pastoralists’ culture and life. Cattle were important in many ways, e.g. as a symbol of wealth, dowry, and in ceremonies. Continue reading “Are Nomadic Pastoralists Non-Rational?”

Nomadic Pastoralism: Importance and Distribution

  1. Livestock is the fastest growing agricultural sector, and in some countries accounts for 80% of GDP.[1]
  2. Grasslands – the basis for livestock production – cover ~70% of the global agricultural area.[2]
  3. More of the land surface of the earth is used for grazing than for any other purposes.[3]
  4. Pastoralism produces 10% of the world’s meat, and supports some 200 million pastoral households who raise nearly 1 billion head of camel, cattle and smaller livestock.[4]
  5. >1 billion people depend on livestock, and 70% of the 880 million rural poor living on less than USD 1 per day are at least partially dependent on livestock.[5]

Continue reading “Nomadic Pastoralism: Importance and Distribution”

Nomadic Pastoralism: A (Tentative) Definition

In the early days, research was all about establishing typologies. So also in the study of nomadic pastoralism, which was concerned with establishing typologies of “pure pastoralists or nomads” where the units of analysis were “ideal types”[1]. Continue reading “Nomadic Pastoralism: A (Tentative) Definition”